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Gila Gila [Aka: Free Electric Sound] album cover
4.07 | 209 ratings | 21 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aggression (4:33)
2. Kommunikation (12:47)
3. Kollaps (5:30)
4. Kontakt (4:30)
5. Kollektivitat (6:40)
6. Individualitat (3:36)

Total Time: 37:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Conny Veit / electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, tabla, Fx
- Fritz Scheyhing / organ, Mellotron, percussion, Fx
- Walter Wiederkehr / bass
- Daniel Alluno / drums, bongos, tabla

Releases information

Artwork: Fritz Mikesch & Marlies Schaffer

LP BASF ‎- 20 21109-6 (1971, Germany)
LP Second Battle ‎- SB LP 071 (2008, Germany)

CD Second Battle ‎- SB 021 (1992, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GILA Gila [Aka: Free Electric Sound] ratings distribution

(209 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

GILA Gila [Aka: Free Electric Sound] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars This is regarded by krautrock specialist as a masterpiece and I am not far from agreeing. But as usual , most of these German groups devolopped a raw saw and on record never really refined it either and this may set back some people. Bands like ADII ,Can, Ash Ra , their albums were raw and bare to the bone, and do not look for symphonic orchestration or over-production in those unrefined , rough diamonds . This is a real gem in the space rock genre but very intimate climate .
Review by loserboy
5 stars Recorded in Cologne in 1971 this was the debut progressive krautrock monster. A Krautrock classic and festifav in this household offering everything you could ask for in an album... drifty, blasting psychedelic rock with electronic effects, acid guitars, acoustic guitars, tabla and Eastern music influences. This flowing, conceptual masterpiece blends a wide array of musical tones and moods sounding very reminiscent of a clash of classic ASH RA TEMPEL, AGITATION FREE and PINK FLOYD ("Ummagumma" / "Meddle" era). For the POPOL VUH lovers out there you will pleased to see this album features Conny Veit (guitars, voice, table, electronic effects). In addition GILA blow you lips off with additional instruments including the mellotron, organ, mandolin and bongos. This may be my personal most beloved German krautrock album of all time. Highly regarded album and an essential one for your collection.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Here's a long time krautrock classic. Gila impress us with a dynamic, intense and imaginative communication between spacey rock improvisations, lengthy psych guitar solos accompanied by luminous electric organ chords. "Agression" is a cosmic krautrock jamming, strictly instrumental (as the rest of the album), dominated by subtle and technical guitar / organ combinations. "Kollaps" is a dark and creepy instrumental piece with moody organ parts and weird, plaintive noises. "Kontact" starts with a variation of different sound collages to finally turn into an acoustic, folk guitar trip with an obvious "eastern" flavour. The track directly carries on "Kollektivitt" for a full-on guitar / organ jam with some folky, mellow accents. "Individualitat" is a strong hypnotic-tribal jam for percussions and guitar experimentations. A serious, intricate mixture between free rock, spacey-psych effects and discreet eastern influences. A must for fans of Agitation Free and highly recommended for the others.
Review by hdfisch
4 stars 4 ½ stars for this masterly done Krautrock album!!

I used to own the highly sought after original vinyl edition of this one some 20 years ago but this type of Krautrock wasn't that much "my cup" back then and therefore I sold it for a quite good price (though nowadays I'd get twice as much). I preferred much their easier psyche folk album from 1973 at that time but meanwhile I've got the CD versions of both records in my collection since a couple of years. As usual taste preferences are changing over time and this excellent debut has really grown on me. Now I've got to say that Gila's first one of course had been much better than "Bury My Heart." (their second one just contains some live jam sessions) though they're hardly to be compared with each other being completely different since only guitarist and band founder Conny Veit had been left over from the original line-up. This debut had been a self production by the band and according to the CD booklet it's telling their story starting from 1969 to 1971 and their development from aggressive rock to balanced communicative music. Like some other bands from the early German progressive scene these guys really practised their ideology which means that by utilising their maximum creative potential they were trying to find their own fulfilment as well as to influence their environment. It was very important for them to be as much as possible free from restraints and forced order and therefore they preferred to use a free-form structure rather than arranged compositions for their music. Of course many bands and musicians from the Krautrock scene were taking this approach during that era - names like Ashra Tempel, Amon Düül, Faust, Can or Neu come to my mind - but actually I've to say the outcome was usually not very satisfactory (at least to my ears). Nonetheless all those bands were quite unique in their very own way and as well much different from the overall trend in progressive rock incorporating more classical forms like suites and movements and following more or less strictly the rules of music theory. Maybe it's due to the fact that I havn't grown up with classical music or it's the rebel in me that I mostly find such type of music more exciting than the classical Prog represented by bands like Genesis or Yes. But I've to say the music on here doesn't sound chaotic at all, not even really unstructured, it's rather floating very nicely without becoming ever dreary nor tedious which is the case for many records of this particular sub-genre. Certainly it's much rooted in late 60's psychedelic, comparable to Floyd's Ummagumma-period, just more enjoyable and easier accessible. Thus it might sound dated for some Prog fans being not that much into Krautrock but I think this record can offer much pleasure after several spins to anyone interested into unique and sophisticated music. Most of the tracks here are purely instrumental, sporadic vocals (both in English and German language) are used merely for emphasizing the keywords of the album concept, aggression and communication. A wide range of sounds had been used, including Mellotron, brilliant organ play and as well some oriental ones like tabla. The musicianship presented by all band members is absolutely impressing and I'm really seduced to give the full-score rating for this excellent debut. But since it might be considered not that much progressive for the year of 1971 and it might not appeal to everyone I think it wouldn't be quite justified. But anyway this album is an excellent addition to any Prog collection and for sure a must-have for fans of Krautrock or Spacerock.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Led by guitarist Conny Veit, Gila is an ensemble that generated a great contribution to the krautrock scene back in the early 80s, before Veit shifted toward the ranks of Popol Vuh and Guru Guru. "Free Electric Sound" is Gila's debut release, and it certainly indicates quite clearly the reasons why this band is so important to krautrock lovers. The band's line of work is based on the confluence of psychedelic, mesmerizing jams (a-la Amon Düül II) and jazz-friendly nuances bearer of distinction (a-la Agitation Free). Indeed, there is room for expanded guitar soloing in exhibitions of robustness, but there is also a careful treatment of these visceral explorations within the confines of well-defined scheme. With sounds of wild wind and rain 'Aggression' gets started on a funky-jazz mode, displaying a psychedelic jam with heavily Hendrix-esque guitar and lysergic organ flows delivered by Scheyhing. With its 12+ minute timespan, 'Kommunciation' is the longest piece in the album. This track is stated on a slow tempo and a very noticeable jazzy vibe, which makes the band lean quite close to Agitation Free and early Embryo. The bass guitar flourishes incorporate a very interesting variety beyond the rhythmic function, while the drummer and keyboardist's labors cry out the "Ummagumma" influence. The last 90 seconds are filled with beautiful flute mellotron and slide guitar, which make a captivating epilogue. 'Kollaps' starts the album's second half, with a very languid mood that helps to state a mysterious, even creepy atmosphere. The sound of a baby crying suggests the notion of man's soul drowned in desolation and confusion among a dark environment. This piece sort of makes Gila close to post-"Phallus Dei" Amon Düül II. 'Kontakt' takes things to a very different dimension, one of candidness and serenity: the prevalent acoustic guitar sets a mixture of Eastern flavors and country airs, aimed at the exploration of our potential of mental piece. The weird noises at the beginning seem not to be a source of restlessness but a special preparation for contemplating attitudes. When the aforesaid jam shifts to an electric mode, it is the time for 'Kollektivität', which emphasizes the Eastern exoticism in both the guitar deliveries and the organ layers. The album's climax is brought up by the powerfully ethnic 'Individualität', a multi-percussive extravaganza focused on tribal frameworks in a very celebratory tone. The synthesizer adornments augment the exciting atmosphere quite effectively, creating a very interesting mixture of Osibisa, Ibliss and early Popol Vuh. Overall balance: "Free Electric Sound" is an excellent exposure of krautrock, a must in any good prog collection with aspirations to become very good.
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Do you know how long i've been searching for this album ? Well I finally have it and have been spending a lot of time with it. It didn't take me long to realize that this is a masterpiece in the Krautrock genre. I'm such a big fan of lead guitarist Conny Veit, and he is so impressive on this recording. He of course is much more restrained on those POPOL VUH albums he played on.

"Aggression" opens with the wind blowing and someone is yelling trying to be heard over the howling wind. The music kicks in around a minute and Conny is lighting it up ! Check out the organ runs as well. "Kommunikation" is the longest track at almost 13 minutes. Some mellotron in this one as well. We can hear water to start with then guitar sounds come in after a minute. A beat follows.This is trippy stuff. Nice bass after 3 minutes as the guitar becomes more prominant. Great sound 5 minutes in and the guitar starts to solo. A change 11 1/2 minutes in then we get some spoken words (as the music stops) to end it.

"Kaliaps" has an Eastern vibe to it as the sound builds. Organ a minute in as the guitar gets louder. Good thing too because next we hear a baby crying. Haha. Cool track ! "Kontakt" has this freaky, psychedelic intro before acoustic guitars take over. Fantastic sound here as these acoustic guitar melodies intertwine. "Kollektivitat" is led by drums and guitar early. Organ joins in after 4 minutes.This is pretty hypnotic before 6 minutes. It blends into "Individualitat" is all about the tablas and percussion. Amazing.

An essential album for Krautrock fans out there.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent debut of early project of guitarist Conny Veit (Popol Vuh and Guru Guru). Very spacey, based on melodic heavy keyboards. With long rock improvs (and you will easy hear bluesy rock roots in that music).

Mostly instrumental work contains long compositions, and I like that melodic spacey sound, with electric heavy guitar soloing, mid tempo almost Floydian liquid sound, full-bodied and quite atmospheric music at the same time. No too much electronic effects, no overweighed soundscapes. Excellent simple sound, where spacey castles are build not by electronics, but by keyboardist and guitarist master musicianship.

Possibly greatest moment of this album is that it being an easy accessible work contains all the best early spacey krautrock elements at their best form. Accessible krautrock's cornerstone?

I can really recommend this album for krautrock newcomers - you wouldn't be disappointed!

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The German rock music of the early 70s lives by the name of Krautrock but due to the diversity between the artists it doesn't mean much on a stylistic level. There's simply too many tastes, ranging from avant to space rock, jazz rock, symphonic, freewheeling jam trips, heavy rock, electronic music and bands that combine elements from each of these.

Gila Gila fits perfectly into the "freewheeling jam" category, an instrumental type of Kraut with the classic rock line-up of drums, bass, guitar and organ. It isn't always my preferred category as I miss some of the deeper adventure, passion and attitude of my Kraut favs, but Gila's debut is simply a stand-out in the field, with well-played, nicely flowing, spacey and perfectly moody trip-rock.

Gila resembles Agitation Free a lot on this album, be it slightly more Floydian maybe, with bass grooves following eastern-scales just like Set The Controls for The Heart of The Sun or Careful with that Axe, Eugene. In fact, this is a Krautrock album you might choose to play this album as background music. I would even dare to call it accessible.

Not the most adventurous or eclectic Krautrock album but a very good one, with classic material and - who knows - one that may turn out to be an introduction to all that amazing music from the German 70s scene.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm holding this Gila album in my hand and thinking it's probably one of my favourite Krautrock releases. It's certainly one of the more accessible I've heard. Among the six tracks there are no lengthy musical meanderings, or what Huxley might have called 'labyrinth(s) of endlessly significant complexity'. And you don't need to undergo a perception-altering spiritual exercise to enjoy the album.

Directed by the genius of Conny Veit, Gila present a series of fairly compact pieces but the results are no less favourable for that. Other than some intermittent sound effects the album is largely free of any unnecessary clutter, with primarily guitar and organ holding poll positions. The guitar has something of a Hendrix flavour on opening track 'Aggression', a neat jam that's underpinned by punchy, percussive bass lines. In fact the bass is pretty impressive throughout the album. The mood changes with the languid, spacey aura of 'Kommunikation', although this in turn undergoes a change with sinister-sounding Mellotron and a disorienting rhythm towards its end.

Matters become more intense with the dark-toned organ of 'Kollaps', a track that sounds to me like The Shadows' 'Apache' on a mescaline terror trip. This makes the acoustic interludings of 'Kontakt' stick out like a sore thumb although 'Kollektivitat' also has a strong, almost West Coast, melodic sensibility. The generally laconic spirit of the album is savaged by the delirium of the closing track 'Individualitat'. Consisting of eerie sound effects of flocking birds and tribal percussions this one sounds like it could have come from the depths of a primordial forest.

This is a tremendous listen, surprisingly approachable and a near perfect introduction for newcomers to Krautrock.

Review by colorofmoney91
5 stars This is some seriously jammin' music, complete with Hendrix-esque guitar playing, heavy organ sounds, and a spacey atmosphere backing it all up. Free Electric Sound, the debut album by krautrockers Gila, is one of the most consistent albums in the krautrock genre, though I wasn't entirely convinced upon first listening about 4 years ago. Luckily, this album's impression on me improved over time.

First of all, the album cover; it's awesome looking. It reminds me of the video games I used to play back in the '90s, and that was what first initially drew me to listen to this album (album covers are very important). Second, the music is great. This album, unlike countless other krautrock albums, doesn't contain any amounts of pointlessness that I can detect. Every element of the all the music seems to have a purpose and it all flows so incredibly well. There are occasional vocals, but they are used more like just another instrument in that they mostly just make sounds. This is very trippy and groovy music, but fairly accessible for krautrock, so I'd say this is a nice introduction to the genre as well as one of the best.

It's a shame that the follow up to this album isn't quite as fantastic, but the fact that the band couldn't do better just emphasizes the masterpiece quality of this album.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Yet another free jam freakout band from the Krautrock scene, Gila's Free Electric Sound begins with the dynamite Aggression, which combines hard rock guitar and heavy funk basswork with a typically psychedelic Krautrock format. The subsequent tracks do not quite manage to show the same level of innovation, and to be honest don't hold my interest to the same extent, though Conny Veit's guitar work is without a doubt the best asset the band had - no wonder Florian Fricke invited him into Popol Vuh! On balance, a good second-tier Krautrock album, but hardly a high priority for those beginning to explore the genre. I'd exhaust the outright classics of the field before turning my attention to this one, personally.
Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Gila's 1971 semi-eponymous debut contains numerous psychedelic jams, exotic textures, and mystic passages. It does possess a fair deal of repetition, and the final track is essentially a drum solo. With that said, this is a great album that would please not only most fans of Krautrock, but fans of space rock too.

'Aggression' Following stormy atmospheric sounds, a spunky bass groove appears, bringing in a psychedelic jam. The organ quivers, blasting in here and there.

'Kommunikation' Dark noise and a Tex-Mex guitar tone introduce a thudding bass and easygoing percussion. I am reminded in some respects of Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden. There are some distant vocals, but primarily the piece stays in jam band mode, letting the lead instruments experiment over the same bass riffs. The final passage, tacked on to the end, has several Mellotrons and spacey slide guitar. The end is spoken word moving from right to left, almost a chant.

'Kollaps' Quieter and more mysterious, 'Kollaps' this has mythical organ and percussion, the Tex-Mex guitar tone, and the cry of an infant (which can be disconcerting if one has, say, delivered his own son four days ago). In a way, it makes me think of 'Magnum Opus' by Kansas, specifically the 'Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat' segment.

'Kontakt' Another dark piece, this eventually brightens up with acoustic guitars.

'Kollektivitat' The acoustic guitars evaporate, leaving a low organ and a guitar fed through a wah pedal alone. The piece develops structure with the inclusion of exotic drums and lead guitar. The Eastern flair remains as the music flows from one rhythmic oasis to the next.

'Individualitat' The music from before fades like a mirage in the thirsty desert, leaving only the drums behind. It is very tribal, with jungle-like sounds and minimal input from the more traditional rock instruments.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Free Electric Sound: an ironic title for an album that survived many years only as an expensive prize for Krautrock treasure hunters. And in retrospect that rarity might have been the best thing about it. The music alone isn't very challenging, but it's all dynamic stuff: energetic guitar jams with more than a whiff of late '60s psychedelia, sounding not unlike early ASH RA TEMPEL but with one foot on terra firma (at least some of the time).

The aptly-titled "Aggression" raises the curtain in rip-roaring fashion, with lots of Hendrix- inspired riffing and some filthy organ runs. Little of what follows was able to match the same level of intensity, and the whole thing is perhaps too indebted to PINK FLOYD, like a lot of Krautrock in 1971. But it was the younger, more dangerous Floyd, circa "Ummagumma" (the live disc, thankfully) that inspired these grooves, filtered through the multi-colored creative sieve of radical German youth culture.

Thus, the blitzkrieg effect in "Kollaps", although it's the eerie sound of a crying baby later in the same track that never fails to send a shiver down my spine. Or the free-form collage introducing "Kontakt", just before the music blossoms in a gorgeous, Eastern-scented acoustic guitar episode. The last four cuts (Side Two, on the original vinyl) blend into a single, meandering space jam, like most of the album pleasantly unfocussed but played with conviction.

Guitarist Conny Veit was the hero of the set. His fluid technique and assorted effects helped lift what could have been a merely half-hearted freakout to near cosmic altitudes (he also sang, briefly and unintelligibly, in the 12-plus minute mini-epic "Kommunikation"). Under his able guidance there isn't a dull moment throughout the album's 37-whirlwind minutes. But at the same time it never quite managed to step forward from the middle of a very crowded Krautrock pack.

The original line-up didn't survive long enough to make a second album, and it was a very different band that returned two years later with the same name. Too bad, because with a little time and effort Gila could have easily made the leap into the upper ranks of Krautrock divinity, instead of settling for the diminished afterlife of a much coveted collector's item.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band Gila was formed in 1969 around guitarist Conny Veit, a Krautrock notable who would also go on to contribute to the music of Popul Vuh and Guru Guru. Their debut `Gila (Free Electric Sound)' arrived in 1971, a predominantly instrumental disc with a refreshing raw sound of spacey rock improvisations, lengthy psych guitar solos backed by plenty of organ, and it frequently reminds of the psych/acid/space early period of Pink Floyd with its fuzzy meandering atmospheres, as well as touches of Dom and Agitation Free.

An early Guru Guru and Hendrix acid rock style permeates opener `Aggression', all Conny's plodding and grooving heavy guitars, Daniel Alluno's rambunctious drumming, murky slithering bass with tickles of Hammond organ rolling around the background, and there's just a touch of spacey echoing in the final moments to hint at what's to come. The nearly thirteen minute cosmic jam `Kommunikation' weaves through everything from acoustic acid-folk shambles, distortion- heavy drones, sudden tempo changes, Embryo-like ethnic flavours and endless drowsy guitar strains with a touch of that mellow bluesy tone and those shimmering reaching piercings that David Gilmour perfected on the early Floyd albums. Walter Wiederkehr's punctuating bass is thick and fluid, Fritz Scheyhing subtly employs runaway electric piano tiptoes and panning organ swirls, and there's even brief ethereal treated vocals and wasted spoken word passages to end a killer first side.

The mantra-like `Kollaps' is all humming feedback droning, whirring Hammond organ, mysterious creeping bass and dreamy weeping guitar tendrils that turn rumbling and splintering, reminding very much again of the early psychedelic Pink Floyd works. `Kontakt' opens as a disorientating collage of shuffling mucky distortion and eerie voices before coming down as an early Deuter-like acid/folk Eastern-flavoured acoustic guitar meditation. There's shades of German band Agitation Free's blend of electronics and ethnic elements in the ten-minute two-part finale, `Kollektivitat' first starting life with reflective and joyful Hammond organ soloing, subdued drumming that carefully builds, seductive purring bass and chiming guitars with bluesy tinges. The Hammond eventually turns scratchy laced with dangerous quickening drums and manic twisting guitar jangles before `Individualitat' dissolves into furious tabla and distortion, although the mere fade-out to close the whole album is a bit of an uninspired letdown!

`Gila' is perhaps similar to an album like, say, the self-titled first Cosmic Jokers album from 1974 that offers many textbook examples of that would be recurring sounds and styles on the Krautrock- flavoured works, but without the more uncompromising and abrasive harder qualities that make up many of those discs, so this could appeal to newcomers and be an ideal introduction. There's certainly more important, experimental and ground-breaking Krautrock discs to explore, but there's not a poor second of music on `Gila', and it definitely deserves to be a proud part of any Krautrock collection.

Four stars.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars A Krautrock kingship based upon improvisational sound flexibility released in 1971, a golden year for progressive rock scene. As every Krautrock fan knows, GILA were one of Krautrock legends around 1970 regardless of their short activity. They played in the same vein of other German psychedelic improvisation units in those days (especially in the longest track "Kommunikation" founded as a spacey jam with low-fi shoegaze electric guitar madness and lazy rhythm section production), but they added not only electronic texture but also colourful sound / melody variations to their vision. The epilogue "Kollektivitat - Individualitat" has pleasant electric guitar-oriented ethnicity in the former part and rich improvised soundscape via spiritual inspiration plus volume of electronic weirdness in the latter. In "Kontakt" are two important, impressive exhibitions - heavenly ambience mainly by avantgarde mellotron plays and repetitive, hallucinogenic acoustic guitar-based comfort. "Kollaps" sounds just like a sequential collapse in the whole life of human beings - a baby's crying should be quite effective here. "Agression", just as the title says, is sorta active and aggressive one featuring flexible and delightful keyboard excess blended with powerful ritualistic guitar sounds. Various sound appearances you can hear via "Free Electric Sound" recommended for all progressive rock fans.
Review by friso
4 stars Gila is sort of krautrock classic of the space rock & psychedelic jam band type. Slightly vague, druggy and lo-fi, it has everything to evoke that mysterious feeling of not being able to picture what you're actually listening to. The album has little avant-garde moments (except for that horrible crying baby) and because of its slow-paced jams it is kind of relaxing and accessible. I can see why people would name this a good entry for a beginners journey into krautrock. If you've enjoyed Pink Floyd's Meddle before you should do fine. The sound of those early organs reminds me of Arzachel, the first two Pink Floyd albums and VdGG's debut ('Octopus' comes to mind). The electric guitars are obviously inspired by David Gilmour, both clean and with fuzz. The band equips sound-effects and recordings to enhance the psychedelic vibe and the intro of 'Kontakt' gets quite dark before evolving into a rather pleasant ethnic folk krautrock piece. Non of the pieces are going anywhere and there's little melody to be found here, but basically a record like this is like an audio documentary of a time & vibe long gone. I think Gila's 'Free Electric Sound' is slightly less interesting (and well-produced) than for instance the first two Agitation Free albums - to which it holds most likeness. It has a charm of its own and the Second Battle vinyl reprints are well made and include a booklet and poster. I would give it 3,5 stars.
Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Once the German Krautrock scene got underway in 1969 it immediately started splintering into myriad directions with some acts like Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh rocketing straight into outer space with trippy ambience and synthesizer excesses while others like Can developing its own unique stylistic approach such as the avant-funk that led to its lauded "Tago Mago.". Others still tried to emphasize the rock aspects and while very much exercising the liberating forces of the modern day sounds of synthesizers, organs and mellotrons, still focused primarily on the traditional rock instrumentation of guitar, bass and drums. Others yet just went plain nuts and alienated even the hardcores. Some bands took the sensible route and took the more accessible path. 
GILA was one such act that emerged from Stuttgart in 1969 after dropping the initial provocative moniker Gila Fuck which seemed to attract law enforcement harassment in favor of a less confrontational name. The early group was formed by Fritz Scheyhing (mellotron, organ) and Conrad "Conny" Velt (guitar vocals) with Swiss drummer Walter Widerkehr and French bassist Daniel Alluno. Known as one of the primary descendants of Pink Floydian space rock jams, GILA was a staple in the early 70s playing numerous gigs and considered one of the more accessible acts to follow with a clear vision of simple repetitive bass grooves accompanied by trippy guitar assaults and the expected organ drenched freakery that was all the rage in the world of Krautrock.

Somewhat in the playbook of Ash Ra Tempel and Manuel Göttsching's solo works, GILA released its self-titled debut album in the summer of 1971 and focused on lengthy drawn out instrumental jamming sessions periodically punctuated by Veit's somewhat less than desirable vocal performances. The focus of GILA was clearly hypnotic bass-driven grooves with jazzy drumming that included the ethnic percussive sounds of bongos and the tabla along with a range of psychedelic guitar trips heaped full of massive amounts of organ runs, electronic embellishments and gusts of mellotron majesty. Unlike many of the era, GILA opted to release the album with German titles as well as providing both sung and spoken lyrics in the mother tongue as well.

The album consisted of six tracks hovering close to 40 minutes long and sounds like it was primarily inspired by Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful Of Secrets" track featured on the album of the same name however GILA wasn't particularly inventive in its approach and relied on a fairly standard methodology of jamming over a hypnotic bass groove and then embellish with guitar licks, lush organ sounds and sound samples ranging from spoken word moments to a baby crying, the latter of which is totally irritating to my ears. While the tracks all drift on in similar fashion perhaps the best aspect of GILA's debut is the ominous organ sounds in conjunct with the terrifying guitar glissandos and creeping bass grooves that slink along in tandem.

While Krautrock successfully captured a wide range of differing approaches, some appeal to certain fans more than others and for some reason GILA has just never really clicked with me. Existing somewhere between the farthest out there trips and a more typical jam band tinged with lysergic accoutrements, GILA certainly managed to walk the tightrope act between standard rock jams and the more adventurous Krautrock excesses of the era but for whatever reason just sounds like one of the more average examples of the era in comparison to other bands that were bursting with creativity. This one is usually near the top of many fans' Kraut album lists of the early 70s for my ears i just find GILA's debut album OK and nothing to get to excited about. It just doesn't take the psychedelic moments far enough for me and the overall jamming aspects aren't very compelling. Oh well, we all can't love everything. Decent but not to die for.

3.5 but rounded down

Latest members reviews

5 stars Pure psychdelia! We can smell it's rock and roll from far! Exceptional bass lines, psych improves on keys and guitars with little touches of jazz, a powerful drum that add much things on the melody with impact! Electronic and spacy timbres are also found (in the beginning of "Kontakt" is found ... (read more)

Report this review (#267222) | Posted by Thiago Hallak | Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Quite possibly the finest and the most definitive "krautrock" album of all time. Not a single second or even a note is out of place. If you need to know why so many people find the krautrock movement to be a constant source of wonder and delight it is because of albums such as this. ... (read more)

Report this review (#142368) | Posted by jimboo | Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Coming somewhere between Ash Ra Tempel's first and Agitation Free, Gila's debut is extremely cosmic and spacy album loaded with great mind dissolving guitar jams and a heavy psychedelic atmosphere with plenty of tripping effects. Very much represetative of the krautrock genre if that means im ... (read more)

Report this review (#52858) | Posted by | Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you like "Jimi Hendrix Guitar", you should not miss it. I agree that it counts as one of the progressive monster masterpieces. It sounds absolutely fantastic for a continental band from that time period. There were many progressive Bands in Germany, Switzerland, etc. at that time but most o ... (read more)

Report this review (#28852) | Posted by Irene | Friday, November 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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